Magma Experiments

I started working on the daunting task of liquid textures.  The working document at the top shows roughly how I got to these magma tiles through several generations, starting in the centre and just moving out as I decide to start a new idea.

I always struggle with liquids because their lighting rules are generally complicated in comparison with solids.  Magma seemed doubly daunting because it emits its own light.   I wanted to give some sense of cooler patches that had partially solidified as well.  I think I got a pretty good result.


Below are a couple quick mockups that I just banged together.  The top image is just a raw composition, and the mockup at the bottom has the terrain shader roughly blended over the magma.  I’ll be doing more work to get the masking and shading to look right.

  1. The texture is looking pretty damn nice. Considering the magma is a light source you could have it revealing the terrain instead of being darkened by it. Would give it a brighter feeling too with the surrounding areas lit up.

    I know these are mock ups and so on, but I can’t help wondering how you will manage to make that highly detailed texture dynamically flow around in pockets and excavated areas.

    The art looks great and the ideas are fantastic, but it all sounds so very daunting to achieve.

    • Been thinking about this some more, and I might have an idea for mimicking light cast off the magma without needing to integrate it into the main terrain shader. I’ll do some mockups and hopefully it will work the way I think it should.

  2. Regarding using the magma as a light source; it would definitely be cool, but the manner in which we’ll be calculating lighting in the game engine means that every additional light source can potentially add a lot of stress onto the processing, so I need to be careful how much of that I try to push into the design. It can probably be ‘faked’ by adjusting the existing colours of bounce hightlights near lava from blue to red.

    I never said the texture will dynamically flow, and I don’t plan on aiming for that level of detail. Just like how the terrain is one large texture that is ‘masked’ to give its shape, the magma texture will not move with its mass. I’ll probably add some sort palette shift to give the appearance of a pulsating glow.

  3. I was assuming that the fluids and gases would move around if you tunneled into pockets of them.

    • The materials will move around, yes, but the underlying textures will not shift under the current design.

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